Men’s Style is Nagercoil has taken off in a big way. The town’s fashion quotient has raised a few bars. CKK is here exploring the elements driving this change in Nagercoil.
12-03-18, Nagercoil. Is the “Men’s/Uni-sexual Beauty Salon” an Intelligent Business Solution created to exploit the insecurities of men who hoard doubts about how they appealed to the other sex? Or for those, who bet on their looks to draw the birds? Do men need beauty treatment at-all? We are on a journey of discovery, digging thru this rising trend in Men’s Fashion & Style in the town of Nagercoil, Kanyakumari.
There was a time when bushy eyebrows, ruffled hair & unbuttoned shirt with a display of hairy chest made a man look rugged & Wild; It also raised his sex appeal(?). Well that how fashion spelt in the days of Dirty Harry; but not anymore! Unkempt and disheveled is what you might get called for your bushy brows & self trimmed nails. Trimmed, smooth, clean and flavorsome is the civilized version of the wild man in the age of Metrosexuals.
To avoid looking like you neglect the all important personal upkeep, it's essential that you groom not just your brows but pay the same kind of attention to your entire self, from the hair on your head to the nails on your toe. These new terms of Male upkeep is the civilized way today’s man presents himself to be seen. Perhaps, that is how the women want men to look & feel now - A bit made-up but not as much as them! For starters, the journey might be long - from the local salons to Medical board certified, award-winning cosmetic surgeons, if you are on the lookout for good looks, you have to deal with them all.
What wouldn’t you give to revive a part of the bygone Youth
Some time ago a newspaper reported that upwardly mobile consumers from the cities of India fly into Mumbai, as often as twice a month, only to visit a salon called Jean Claude Biguine (JCB), which tops average-spend @Rs 10,000 per session. JCB, the French salon chain, does not have a presence in Nagercoil or even in Chennai yet.
But the concept of buying beauty is growing rapidly among Nagercoil’s fashion conscious customers, who won’t think twice to throw in a few thousands if one could fix them the look they dream of. To add to the present day long list of beauty salons in Nagercoil, we see a new one popping up every now and then too.
The Evolving Unisexual Beauty Scene
Switch back to the Nagercoil of late 80s & 90s … and on an average, we used to visit the barber 6 to 10 times a year for the haircut; more often, if you were solely dependent on the barber for the shave too. And all the women had an “occasion” to visit the “Beauty Parlour” – when they tuned into Brides or just on the eve of a cousins’ wedding, for a Birthday bash or at Christmas, Ramadan or Oonam. And for the men, one barber is whom we went to all the time and the cuts were predetermined – a short crew at the sides and a tuft of hair at the center, like a honey comb if your hair would curl. It was hard to tell if one was better than the other, as the styles were limited to the Summer Cut, Step Cut, Disco curls, Big Daddy Burns and a few nameless others only the fashion conscious sported.
Ten years later that scene is only a part of memory. Everything about hair cutting had changed - scissors have given way to trimmers and barbers to Hair stylist - there was a whole world of difference to begin with.
The Metro-sexual Millennials
Data sets of 2017 reveal that the frequency at which consumers visit salons has gone up to 2.5-3 times every month, which converts into 30 to 50 visits as year. Riding the wave of rising disposable incomes the expanding Indian middle class’ beauty demand is inching closer to the global average of four visits a month or once every week.
With rising frequency, consumers expect something new with every visit. Some beauty treatments that deliver results in quick time are much in demand. Moreover, most of the customers are willing to pay a premium if the treatments they opt for are exclusive and highly effective. High frequency customers expect conversations, refreshments and promotions to be tailored to them. They walk in expecting to be pampered. This had necessitated constant upgrading of skill & services being offered at these franchise beauty outlets in Nagercoil like Naturals & Green Trends.
The absolute explosion of Men's Styling in Nagercoil
Driven by peer pressure, social media beauty experts, Youtube beauty sessions, more & more men & women are experimenting with their looks. As men grow more knowledgeable about the looks they want, their haircuts & beards have also evolved and become more technical. That is one reason why, manicured men are turning up for manscaping sessions in unprecedented numbers at the beauty spots of Nagercoil.
While the usual demand is to trim the ends as per the school rule or to cut it short or very short and the barber will take the clue. But since 2014, with the launch of world class franchises like Green Trends, Naturals and such in Nagercoil, it is grown to be a whole world different. Here we are now being treated with a more professional and personalized approach to men’s grooming, like it has been happening in the cities around us for a few years. Life here has turned suddenly exciting, especially for men who’d like to get their hair styled and their face masked & peeled, in short a lot of petting and pampering as compared to the usual experience of the small town salons.
Consumer spending on grooming has doubled over the last five years, despite the rising prices charged by beauty services. A haircut along with colour at a mid-level to premium salon costs a consumer anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000. Beyond the hair cut & beauty treatment, there is a kind of bonding. People have an experience that include refreshments, friendly chatter & an invitation with an offer for the next walkin. Men's grooming is really at the pinnacle right now and they visit their beauty spots every second week.
Most of the frequent visitors to the beauty salons are no more embarrassed about showing pictures of celebrity styles they want to emulate. The industry has only grabbed on to that opportunity and has also evolved to meet the demand, from men getting a cheap cut at a basic barber shop to really high-quality cuts and styles. These frequent shoppers for beauty are driving the transition from barber shops to Beauty Salons in Nagercoil.
The Major Fashion Makeovers in Town
With branded Hair Styling franchisees in an all professional hue and color in Nagercoil, there is an interesting variety of options for the man in need of beauty masks, facials and some real hairstyle in KK. Twenty five Facial treatments starting at Rs 450, including a 24 carat Gold & Oxygen facial that would cost around Rs 3,500 for me and women of Nagercoil. Other facial treatments include Insta Whitening, Skin Lightening, Vitamin-vegetable Detan, Fruit Secret Detan and Reaffirming Mask and all. Hair coloring starts at Rs 550 for the Pro 10 Color, and goes up Rs 900 for ammonia-free- color, which is the industry standard. Why wouldn’t you want to be pampered?
You can expect and demand a different look & style every month and be sure you stay a head above the average fashion crowd when you get styled at Green Trends, and that too, at the most competitive rates in town for some very good services that had thus far been denied to the residents of Nagercoil.
Industry geared to Meet Demand Head On
Green Trends and Naturals will be vying with each other for the slice of the same pie, as some of their services overlap reach out to the same clientele, while also having to tease the 35 plus crowd out of their traditional-salon seats. As most of the professionals, high earners & business people now include travel to international locations in their yearly itinerary, they are exposed to global brands and trends. Sensing demand, Salon chains have opened up even in tier 3 cities & the local players in every nook and corner. Big brands like Pothys, Kalyan, Lalitha, Alukas & Reliance is only growing in evidence of the market potential Nagercoil exhibits.
Numerous challenges, some constant, some constantly changing, face brands in the beauty industry in Nagercoil. There’s always the huge issue of workforce development but also the question of trends. Barbers need to move quickly and work to get their customers in and out. Finding motivated workers is so difficult so that some are being trained inhouse.
Nagercoil – Now Moving at the speed of Globalization
While the best salon in Nagercoil charges Rs 150 for a cut and beard trims from Rs 200, modern men are prepared to fork out a lot more. With the rise of hipsters, old-fashioned haircuts and carefully groomed moustaches and beards have returned. So did the grooming products needed to maintain them, such as pomade, beard oil and moustache wax, as well as straight razors.
In the past 10 years, the human psychology has evolved positively in terms of self grooming, and pride has grown about how seriously people take in their appearance now. Most men would go for a haircut with a beard trim and line up but there are also men who visit weekly to get a haircut and facial. Traditionally female services like waxing, facials, manicures and pedicures are getting increasingly popular with men in Nagercoil. They are also being coaxed to visit regularly, and for a wider range of services with offers for members and loyalty programs discounts. Between 75 to 80 per cent of clients walkin on a fortnightly basis which only shows just how much the idea of Beauty is getting deep rooted in men now. It is with the rise if the Millieneals that the idea of beauty translated to fit+good looks, which means more gyms & beauty spa will show up too.
We are only moving in a global direction and are part of an increasing trend which is not isolated to Nagercoil alone. Infact, as the Indian personal care industry makes up 22 percent of the market for consumer package goods, India is a potential gold mine for beauty & personal care companies and it is no different here in Nagercoil.
Earlier, no one would want to invest in the beauty industry. Today, salon owners are not Barbers anymore; they are businesswomen or entrepreneurs with MBAs from Universities abroad. Only a handful are beauticians or hair dressers from the old world have broken into the mould of the New World. Banks, which denied them loans now come forward to provide loans and support beauty industry and it is beginning to bloom. Apart from the opportunity in the domestic market there is significant interest in the global market for all things Indian. Market research predicts India's beauty, cosmetics and grooming market to touch $20 billion by 2025 from the current level of 6.5 billion dollars.
The rising awareness of personal care products, growing disposable incomes, changes in consumption patterns and lifestyles and improved purchasing power of women, promises exciting times for the personal care industry. Inspite of the money you are willing to throw away, Fashion and style is not for all. Some stay away from it, understanding the fact no amount of it can add up anything of value to their looks, while some know, a little dash of powder & color can bring about that beauty in you.
To keep your skin healthy, nourished and glowing is not just a wish that everybody has, man or woman, but a need too. The polluted air, UV radiation and our unhealthy lifestyles do manifests in our looks. And when we can’t do enough to keep skin and hair healthy through our homemade self-grooming techniques, it is always good to seek expert opinion and support. While you can’t really differentiate if one stylist or groomer is better than the other in terms of skill, ultimately the challenge is no longer about finding a skillful stylist but finding the salon which offers experiences that best suits one's tastes and needs. Luckily for Nagercoil, we got more than one!